Stig Broeckx officially out of coma, team doctor says

Long road to recovery ahead as Belgian says first words

Stig Broeckx has emerged from his half-year-long coma, but still faces a long road to recovery, according to Sporza.be.

Team doctor Servaes Bingé confirmed at the Lotto Soudal camp in Mallorca that Broeckx, who was critically injured in a crash with a race motorcycle, is no longer a coma patient and even spoke a few words.

"He is learning to swallow independently and spoke a few small words for the first time," Bingé said. "A comatose state is described as a rating of ten (of ten). He is out of a (vegetative) coma and has even gained back some muscular strength. He is no longer a coma patient."

Broeckx fell into a coma after suffering a severe head injury during the Baloise Belgium Tour on May 28, 2016 when he was involved in a crash sparked when two motorcycles collided and then swerved into the peloton. He underwent multiple surgeries to relieve pressure in his brain, but in June it was reported that he was in a vegetative state, and hopes of recovery were low.

Although he is now out of a coma, Broeckx's road back to health from such a severe traumatic brain injury is a long one.

"But the progress has been positive," Bingé said. "He sleeps a lot, but that's because he is working very hard: Sitting in a wheelchair, and he will even cycle on a sort of stair machine."

"Where the progress will lead, the doctors will not yet say. But on the other hand, this is already much more than anyone could have imagined a while back. Everything will obviously take a lot of time."

Bingé said that Broeckx has spoken a few words like "tomorrow" and has communicated with his family. "All at a very low level, of course. He also recognizes other riders. That communication is even possible is positive."

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